Is there anything quite as soothing for the mind and soul as watching nature at its best, I wonder? As I stand at my desk compiling this post, there's a family of Superb Fairy-wrens building a nest in the tumble of Jasmine vines right outside the window. While the energetic little female, which I call the Jenny-wren, flits back and forth with wads of nesting matter in her beak, the adult male, or daddy bird, keeps a careful watch. He didn't seem to mind me taking this quick snap, though I did sense that he might have been asking me cheekily, 'May I help you?'.
Call me crazy if you must, but for some reason I think of Fairy wrens as my 'angels'. The mere sight of them and sound of their cheery song has brought me great comfort and joy, especially during times of despair when life has thrown one of its nasty out-of-the-blue curved balls in my family's direction. Those beautiful little birds have sure calmed my nerves and restored my sanity.
Now that we've broached that topic, I'm keen to share with you the news that the Australian Broadcasting Commission, or ABC as it's better known, is about to kick-start a national conversation about mental health across the wider community. The initiative, Mental As... , is the biggest ever cross-platform programming event conducted by the ABC and will be launched for Mental Health Week, which takes place from 5-12 October 2014.
Across ABC TV, radio, online and mobile, ABC Mental As... will take a look at mental health from all angles and perspectives, from comedy to documentary, entertainment to debate, as the network aims to help join the dots on mental health in Australia. The week will culminate in a two-hour, live, TV fundraising event Friday Night Crack Up on World Mental Health Day, Friday 10 October. Australia’s biggest personalities — comedians, actors, sportspeople, and musicians — will show their support for Mental As... and encourage Australians to take action, start talking, and give to mental health research.
Friday Night Crack Up host, Eddie Perfect (pictured below) says, 'I can’t lie. I have no idea how a live television variety show in support of Mental Health Week is going to work because none of us have done this before. What I do know is that we have an unprecedented line-up of singers, actors, musicians, comedians and writers joining together (despite their conflicting network affiliations) throwing caution to the wind and bringing their considerable gifts to the table in support of mental health. It’s precisely my anarchic idea of a good time, actually. It’s time to talk about mental health; an issue which eventually touches every single one of us. Might as well enjoy ourselves while we’re at it.'
ABC Director of Television Richard Finlayson said, 'Mental health challenges are huge and touch so many Australian families, yet we still struggle to talk about it openly [so true!]. Our week of ABC Mental As... programming will challenge stigmas and taboos; promote discussion, support and education; and inspire Australia to donate to mental health research.'
From the unique and ground-breaking documentary series Changing Minds and one-off special Felicity’s Mental Mission; to new comedy and entertainment including Timothy, The Agony of the Mind and Friday Night Crack Up; along with distinctive episodes of Q&A, Good Game, Gardening Australia and many more.
ABC Mental As... will be supported by a number of high profile Australians across all networks including actress Deborah Mailman, Network Ten presenter Jessica Rowe, TV personality Rove McManus, designer Alex Perry, advertising guru Todd Sampson (pictured below), musician Missy Higgins, actor Shane Jacobson and ABC presenters Jeremy Fernandez and Emma Alberici, who will act as ambassadors to raise awareness of the initiative and stimulate conversations.
Why am I sharing information about Mental As... ? Good question.
Mental illness can affect anyone at any time. I have been the primary carer of a young person with a chronic mental illness for more than fifteen years. I love this person so very dearly and would do anything to help ease the pain of this devastating affliction. And that is as far I'm prepared to go in sharing my story on this topic. But here are a few important facts you may not have known:
2. Life – Fact Sheet 3 Statistics on Suicide in Australia
How can you/we help?
The ABC wants to fuel conversation, challenge stigma and help join the dots on mental health in Australia. Almost half the total population (45.5%) will experience a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime and the rest are likely to feel its impact.
Make a donation and support the quest for better mental health solutions. Help support leading researchers in developing breakthroughs in preventing, diagnosing and treating mental ill health, make a contribution to fund mental health research today. To do this, visit Mental As - ABC Television. The funds raised through ABC Mental As... will be invested in mental health research, funding Australia’s next generation of emerging research leaders to seek breakthroughs, progress and cures. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Other awesome stuff...
Some other good things caught my eye over the last week or two... I thought you might be interested too.
Cookbook author and culinary grad, Tessa, who blogs at Handle the Heat, has kindly given me the thumbs up to share her photograph below, which is part of her Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies piece. Tessa's dedication to baking and testing several versions of these morsels is outstanding and deserves a huge round of thanks from cooks around the world! Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, sit down and enjoy her experiments.
Now I'm not a huge fan of cupcakes, but this handy guide to cupcake and wine pairing really took my fancy.
Peter's elderly mum has been staying with us for the last week or so and she greatly enjoyed seeing all the blooms at Canberra's Floriade, as well as Tulip Top Gardens on the Federal Highway.
Finally, a word of thanks from Mark Henry, creator of the Fonte 'Tough Love' Australian cast iron sauteuse by SolidTeknics. His Kickstarter project has been a success and he asked me to tell you 'We made it!'. These new Aussie pans will go into production next month. The Fonte pans are still available on Kickstarter until 21 September, and this is the only time they will cast the pans with 'First Edition' underneath, creating a valuable and rare collectible for all backers on Kickstarter. It is $99 for a pan on Kickstarter, including delivery in Australia. Then the pans will be available in good gourmet stores from November, but please note they will be RRP $129 and they won't be cast with 'First Edition'.
Note: ABC Mental As... logo, and images of Eddie Perfect and Todd Sampson appear with the kind permission of ABC TV.
So my dear readers, what good things have captured your attention lately? Do tell. And what helps to keep you sane?
Hello. I'm Liz, a writer, cook and traveller based in Canberra, Australia.
Join me as I share with you my favourite recipes, postcards and morsels from my adventures, conversations with cookery writers
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.